Detroit Tigers: From Kearney Mesa to Cooperstown, Alan Trammell’s Journey to the Hall

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OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 25: Alan Trammell #3 of the Detroit Tigers fields the ball during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on June 25, 1996 in Oakland, California. The Tigers defeated the A’s 10-8. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Detroit Tigers fans have a reason to go to Cooperstown this summer, with two legends in Alan Trammell and Jack Morris getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.

For 17 years, a vicious battle raged between the BBWAA and Detroit Tigers fans over whether Jack Morris was a Hall of Famer. At least there was an argument.

For Alan Trammell, and his possible candidacy into the Hall, hardly a voice was raised!

Trammell became eligible for Hall of Fame consideration in 2002. It was the two years earlier that venerable Tiger manager Sparky Anderson became a member of that lofty institution.

Unlike Anderson, Hall of Fame voters did not look favorably on Trammell. To be elected into the Hall, a candidate’s name must appear on 75% of the writer’s ballots.

In 2002 balloting, Trammell garnered only 22%.

The New Breed of shortstops

Trammell was part of the evolution of the “new breed” of shortstops. No longer was the major league shortstop all glove and ‘no-bat’.

The slick fielding shortstop of old, who typically batted eighth in the order, gave way to great hitting and great fielding.

That definition of the ” new breed” of major league shortstops arose out of the introduction of Robin Yount, Cal Ripken and Trammell into the MLB.

Yount and Ripken could not only hit for average and provide solid defense but also could, and did, hit for power. This new breed of shortstop was never seen before in the big leagues.

The major league shortstop, beginning in the mid 1970’s,  could hit for power, hit for average, had good arm strength and fielding abilities.

The young Trammell would find himself in this group of shortstops. He would add good base running skills into the mix. Trammell would also find himself #3 in this “group of three”.

Yount was a 20 year veteran of the Major leagues. He would play his entire career for the Milwaukee Brewers (1973 – 1992). Yount would play primarily as a shortstop and, later in his career, as a centerfielder. As a Brewer, Yount would post astronomical statistics.

The two-time American league MVP and 3-time All-star would have a career .285 BA, 3,142 hits, 251 Home Runs, 1406 RBI’s and won a Golden Glove in 1982.

Cal Ripken Jr. was known as the “Iron Man” for having played in 2,632 consecutive games for the Baltimore Orioles (1981 – 2001). His accolades arising from this feat are breathtaking.

The Iron man amassed 19 All-Star appearances, 2x MVPs, Rookie of the Year honors in 1982, two Golden Glove Awards, eight Silver Slugger Awards and led his team to a World Championship in 1983. Ripken did all this  while he was compiling 3,184 hits, 431 Home runs, 1695 RBI’s and had a career .276 batting average.

Both Yount and Ripken would ultimately be first ballot Hall of Famers. Ripken’s name showed up on 98.53% of the ballots, the fourth highest of all time.

It was out of this same period of time that Trammell would play and, ultimately, find his name on Hall of Fame ballots.

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